Lord Sutcliffe sat at the desk in his study, composing a letter on a sheet of parchment by the flickering light of an oil lamp. Across the room, drawn curtains displayed the brilliant orange of a sunset sky over the trees of the woods at the back of his vast estate.
The door to the study opened and a young boy about five years of age came in. He held a small ball in his little hands. “Papa? he said, approaching the desk. “Papa?”
“Yes, boy, what is it?” Lord Sutcliffe asked gruffly as he continued to write.
“What are you doing? Want to go play ball?”
“I’m busy writing a letter right now, son. Maybe in a little while.”
“But it’s almost dark, Papa.”
“Just give me a few more minutes, son.”
The boy walked around the desk, looking at the different items on it. “What’s this,” he asked, dropping his ball and picking up what looked like some small, carved metal animals. He turned them over in his small hands and noticed a symbol on the bottom of them.
Lord Sutcliffe glanced up briefly from this letter. “Those are my sealing stampers. Be careful with them.” He returned to his letter.
The boy studied the small animals in this hands. “Ceiling…stampers?” he murmured and glanced up at the ceiling high over his little head. He looked at the desk and found a bottle of ink. He picked it up and wandered away, looking from the animal figures and bottle of ink in his hand to the ceiling, and thinking. He didn’t see any signs of stamps on the ceiling, so what did his father mean they were ceiling stamps? Maybe he hadn’t used them on the ceiling yet? Could he not figure out how to reach the ceiling with them?
An odd, tiny thumping noise caught Lord Sutcliffe’s attention and he looked up from his letter to see the young boy toss one of his sealing stampers up at the ceiling. It hit briefly before falling back down to the floor with a small thump.
“What are you doing, George!” Lord Sutcliffe cried out angrily. “Stop that before you break them!”
Young George, startled, turned to his father, and when he did, his small foot found the ball he had dropped earlier and he tripped and fell. The bottle of ink he held went flying high into the air and smashed into the ceiling, leaving a smear of ink on the ceiling and raining ink and porcelain on to the floor below.
“George!” Lord Sutcliffe shouted.
Little George stared up at his father, tears streaming down his face. “I’m sorry, Papa,” he said softly.
“Go to your room, George,” Lord Sutcliffe said, pointing to the door. “Now.”
“Yes, Papa,” George said. He grabbed his ball, stood up, and walked from the room, his little head bowed meekly in apology.
Lord Sutcliffe watched him leave and shut the door. He sighed and returned to finishing writing his letter.
This post is part of the Stream of Consciousness Saturday post, “sealing/ceiling”: